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A Different View

Can we all get a hundred and fifty grand off our mortgage?

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

I have to come clean and admit that I have made a series of critical financial errors right from the moment we decided to buy our family home.

First off, we paid way too much for it – five years in therapy have allowed me to wipe the actual amount from my memory but I do know that the house across the road is now on the market for not much more than one-third of the price the owner rejected around the time that we bought ours.

But my biggest mistake was that I took out an enormous mortgage and I’ve kept paying it religiously ever since.

Stupidly I kept doing it when we could have gone on long holidays instead; I still paid up when we could have changed the car or bought a little hideaway in France or Turkey.

I should have stopped paying and squirreled away just enough to fly to a bolthole in the UK or the US from where I could declare myself well and truly bankrupt.

I’d then have had to hunker down in my condominium with the beach views until such time as my period in financial limbo was at an end – and then I could have come home to start all over again.

But I was stupid – like tens of thousands others out there who have prioritised the repayment of their mortgage over all other debts and who have actually accomplished nothing more than making the hole even deeper than it was at the start.

And somehow, we’re the lucky ones.

We’re not allowed to voice our frustrations at a system, where we pay all of the tax on our income because we don’t have a team of accountants to reveal those little-known tax havens.

Our earnings are there for any taxman worth his salt to see; we have no other sources of income unless twenty quid on a 4/1 winner at Cheltenham qualifies.

Every utility provider has us by the proverbials, because we’re signed up on a direct debit that ensures they get their dosh before my wages have even settled in to their new surroundings.

So we have no hiding places, no secret accounts, no three-month credit window on our bills – we work, we get paid, we pay out and the cycle starts all over again.

And yes, we’re lucky that we have jobs and an income because there are many who don’t – but does that preclude us from anger or frustration because we barely have the wherewithal to keep our heads over water?

I do not, for one minute, begrudge the Dublin couple who had one-third of their mortgage debt written off by AIB last week. I just wish that I could have €150,000 taken off mine.

That wouldn’t even halve my mortgage, but it would give me the security that I crave – the money for college, for pensions, for the rainy day. As it is, every day is a rainy day and with a massive mortgage it will continue so for years to come.

Our Dublin friends owed €400,000 after borrowing to buy their home during the boom, and they are struggling with loans, credit card debt and other borrowings.

They are caught in a trap from which there is no escape – and this represented the only pragmatic solution, as well as being the morally correct route to take as well. 

The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation are a fantastic group of people who provide the only shelter in the midst of a financial storm for couples who find themselves at their wit’s end.

As the banks close in on repossession and everything you’ve worked for heads down the pan, these angels of mercy come to pull as much as they can from the wreckage to allow you to cling in to your life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

We’re at our most sure-footed when we find common ground

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When two Irish people meet, they have thirty seconds to find someone they have in common or both of them will die.

It was a Tweet that made me smile recently – but then, thinking a little more, it’s actually so, so true.

We seem lost if we can’t make a common connection, as if six degrees of separation is about three steps too far.

Of course, we’re spoilt in Galway because you’ll never ever meet someone who doesn’t know Michael D; they were either lectured by him, they canvassed for him, they sat beside him in Terryland Park, they chatted with him at the Arts Festival before it had a tent, or they’ve been to a garden party at the Áras.

And once the pressure is off because you’ve made one connection, the rest will flow like soup off Alan Dukes’ fork, as Johneen Donnellan once observed.

It’s a small county in the scheme of things so it shouldn’t be any wonder that we’re well connected – from school or college or work or extended family or geography, we’re a stone’s throw from everyone else.

Half of Mayo, of course, knows Joe Biden – and never has a man had so many fourth cousins once removed (if it gets much worse, he might have to have them forcibly removed) since he got the keys to the big White House.

We can’t claim to know Barack Obama, but half of Galway knows Billy Lawless, who hosted the former Chicago senator in his acclaimed restaurant – we knew Billy as a politician or a publican, in Trigger Martyn’s or the old Twelve in Barna. So that’s close enough.

We’re also familiar with Pat McDonagh, who doesn’t just own Supermac’s; he also owns the Barack Obama Plaza in Offaly. So that’s a second Presidential connection to someone we’ve never actually met.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

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